University of Florida

Magnolia stellata (Star Magnolia)

Star Magnolia

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  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 - 9
  • Mature Height: 12 to 20 ft
  • Mature Spread: 10 to 15 ft
  • Growth Rate: Slow
  • Availability: Somewhat available
  • Drought Tolerance: Moderate
  • Salt Tolerance: Poor
  • Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Native Origin: Not native to North America. Invasive potential has not been assessed.
  • Soil Drainage: Needs a well-drained site.
  • Foliage: Deciduous. Leaves open bronze-green, turning to a deep green as they mature and yellow before dropping.
  • Flowers: White to pink showy, fragrant flowers in early spring
  • Pests: Free of serious pests and diseases.

Description: Star magnolia is one of the hardiest of the magnolias. It is a small tree or large shrub, typically branching close to the ground, the multi-stemmed form develops with a dense head of foliage. It makes a wonderful patio, lawn specimen or accent tree. Lower foliage can be removed to show off the trunk and to create more of a tree form. Otherwise, the persistent lower branches and oval to round form lend a “large bush” look to the plant. When planted against a dark background, the branching pattern and light gray trunk will show off nicely, particularly when lit up at night. The leafless winter silhouette looks great shadowed on a wall by a spotlight at night. The white flowers have a slight touch of pink coloration, and are produced in spring before the leaves appear, even on young plants.

Gainesville Observations: Might be usable as a small multi-trunked ornamental tree near power lines due to its small stature. We are not sure yet as to appropriateness for use as a street tree due to its shrubby habit. Flowers have been very showy on the bare tree. A very slow grower and has remained more of a shrub than a small tree.